In June 2015, in front of millions of basketball fans, the Golden State Warriors dispatched the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. It’s not that the Cavaliers didn’t stand a chance at the beginning of the series. However, with Kevin Love sidelined and Kyrie Irving going down at the end of Game 1 with what was eventually diagnosed as a fractured kneecap, Cleveland never really stood a chance.
How could they? The Dubs had the league MVP in Stephen Curry. They had the deepest roster in the NBA. They had the swagger, the confidence, the home-court advantage, and a 67-win season under their belts. In other words, they had everything going for it.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had one thing that could not be replicated: LeBron James. The best player on the planet — who was playing in his fifth consecutive NBA Finals — took the series by storm. You can try to game plan for him all you want. But when the King is dialed in, you can forget about it. When James is at his best he doesn’t just score points, he gets the most out of his diminished supporting cast. He clearly believed in himself so strongly that he had the rest of the young Cavs believing as well — that they could actually topple Goliath.
This year, we’ve seen a similar James refuse to give up. He and the Cavaliers fought their way to another NBA Finals appearance — LeBron’s eighth Finals in total. In honor of his historic seven visits to basketball’s biggest stage, here are all of his NBA Finals performances ranked to date.